Q393 Summary

Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.

To read the Tape Transcript, click here. Listen to MP3 (Pt. 1, Pt. 2).
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FBI Catalogue           Jones Speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note: Labeled in part “News”

Date cues on tape:     Likely October 1978 (reference to visit of Feodor Timofeyev, early October)

People named:

Public figures/National and international names:
Part 1
Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
Walter Mondale, U.S. Vice President
Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s national security advisor

James Callaghan, British prime minister (by reference)
David Owen, British Foreign Secretary

Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran
Moshe Dayan, Israeli Foreign Minister
Ezer Weizman, Israeli Defense Minister
Anwar Sadat, president of Egypt
Kamal Hassan Ali, Egyptian Defense Minister (by reference)
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, acting foreign minister of Egypt (by reference)
Elias Sarkis, president of Lebanon (by reference)
Hafez Al-Assad, president of Syria (by reference)
Ian Smith, Rhodesian Prime Minister
Kenneth David Kaunda, president of Zambia

Mao Tse Tung, leader of People’s Republic of China
Ruth Gamberg, author of Red and Expert: Education in the People’s Republic of China
Fred Pincus, book reviewer

Mark Lane, Peoples Temple attorney
Don Freed, author and screenwriter

Part II:
Jimmy Carter, U.S. President
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s national security advisor
Adolf Hitler, German Fuhrer
Forbes Burnham, Prime Minister of Guyana
Feodor Timofeyev, Consular of Soviet Union embassy in Guyana
Leon Trotsky, Communist activist murdered by Stalin (by reference)

Paul Robeson, American black actor, musician, activist
Alexander Pushkin, Russian author
Daniel Ellsberg, Defense Department worker who leaked Pentagon Papers

John and Barbara Moore, parents of Temple members, Jonestown visitors
Mark Lane, Peoples Temple attorney
Don Freed, author and screenwriter
Carlton Goodlett, San Francisco physician, newspaper publisher

Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Part I and II:
Debby Layton Blakey

Jonestown residents, full name unknown:
Part II:
Jeff (Carey or Wheeler)
Janet (likely Tupper)
Joyce (likely either Touchette or Parks)
Kay (likely Rosas, could be Nelson)
Mother Taylor
Teresa (likely King)

Jonestown residents:
Part II
Selika Bordenave
Patty Cartmell
Patricia Cartmell (speaks)
Eddie Crenshaw
Miguel de Pina
Tom Grubbs
Jann Gurvich
Luvenia “Mom” Jackson
Shanda James
Johnny Moss Brown Jones
Stephan Jones
Tim Night Jones (speaks)
Evelyn Leroy
Christine Lucientes
Bea Orsot
Don Sly
Etta Thompson
Dick Tropp
Robin Tschetter
Leslie Wagner-Wilson
Jan Wilsey
Joe Wilson
Nedra Yates

Bible verses cited: None


This two-part tape opens with Jim Jones reading the daily news, followed by the more significant portion of the recording, a community meeting in Jonestown. The date of the tape is uncertain – some aspects suggest that it was recorded in September, while others, such as the reference to the visit of Russian consul Feodor Timofeyev to Jonestown, point to an early October date – but whatever the date, there is evidence that the community is in decline.

The meeting shows this more readily than the newscast. During the meeting, Jones voices a number of complaints: the checks that the seniors bring in through their Social Security payments cover only about 10% of the actual cost of taking care of them; the doctors in Georgetown as not sufficiently socialist, and Temple members who go to the capital city for medical treatment have to slip money under the table for quality care; people who go into Georgetown take advantage of being away from Jonestown and could cause trouble. “[T]hey make cracks and they do their own thing and they go out on their own time, and they won’t give accountability of what they’re doing,” he says on the last point. “We can’t run an organization like that.”

The complaints extend to problems in Jonestown itself, problems which reveal the general malaise which had begun to take hold of the community during its last months. More and more people are getting sick, Jones notes, and he suspects some people are just “goofing off… and we’re getting sick of you getting sick, ‘cause you’re sick half the time to get out of work.” He complains about the periodic lack of focus on socialism, especially when people replace that by “listen[ing] to jazz that runs off that radio that was made by white people to dull your hearing and hypnotize your mind.” He’s upset about the comments about too much structure in Jonestown. “What is it, too much structure?” he replies. “Structure that keeps children from being in gangs? The structure that keeps children from … pushing drugs… taking a fix, or being in a gang, war, every goddamn night?”

Jones seems to have a response to everything, and almost all are critical. In response to his question about why she likes the culture in Georgetown, one woman says she recognizes that it isn’t as progressive or carry the sense of unity that the culture of Jonestown has, but it is simple. “It is so simple,” Jones shoots back, “that one night, the Russians may have to get on there with this Morse code and tell us to move quickly or they’ll be landing with helicopters.… It’s so simple that the Venezuelans could march across this border and be in Georgetown in 24 hours. That’s the danger of disorganization, and simplicity, and confusion.”

Indeed, Jones seems unwilling to give people anything that can hang onto. When the same young woman expresses her concern that she feels like a few residents have intentionally baited her – and especially one, who seems “like he was setting me up to say something” – Jones replies, “He could be in the committee of revolution defense. We have them all over the place.” (The subject of monitoring the people of Jonestown also arises in the newscast, as when he says, “We’re taking close observation these days,” and indeed, he opens the news with the announcement that “we’re having observers now watching work that will come up in the Peoples Forum this evening.”) And the effort to discombobulate people, to keep them on guard at every moment, is intentional, as he admits. “[F]ortunately I confuse people sometimes,” he says. “I never tell things just exactly.” The admission of purposeful misdirection appears on other tapes from this period as well.

While there have been invocations of infiltration by potential adversaries as a potential threat to Jonestown’s survival, the references in this tape indicate increasing paranoia. He speaks of the CIA trying to entice people to betray them, just as they did with Debby Blakey several months earlier. He knows that someone is trying to poison him – increasingly assumed as a fact during the fall of 1978 – and “the idea that anybody’d try to kill me at this stage makes me highly suspicious that we have a CIA provocateur.” He expresses suspicion of people who take notes during the meetings, saying it “makes me nervous when you write down every word come out of my mouth. I wonder why you’re doing it.” More importantly, it demonstrates “anarchism, anarchy.”

There are a few references to death. In complaining about the commitment of his followers, he says that people put too much emphasis on their own lives. He adds that he doesn’t care about his own life, and that when the times comes, “I’ll be glad to be free of it.”

Still, he does recognize that all is not well in Jonestown. He acknowledges they can continue to eke out an existence, that “we can survive here, we can go on endlessly and endlessly and endlessly. That’s the very reason some of you are bored,” he observes, then adds, “I want to give you other opportunities.”

The principal alternative he suggests, though, is emigration to the USSR. He promotes it as a place to go to avoid the repercussions of nuclear war (which is an “absolute”). There are incentives to go, too, such as living in a country that has never enslaved blacks. Perhaps most importantly, they have an advocate in the form of Timofeyev, who was impressed by what he saw in Jonestown, and who has extended the invitation for them to move to the Soviet Union.

For them to succeed, though, the people of Jonestown will need to learn the Russian language, something Jones urges both during the meeting and in the earlier newscast.

The items in the newscast itself include:

• Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith goes to Washington to seek financial aid;
• Great Britain denies reports that it plans to send weapons to Zambia to protect against Rhodesian attacks;
• Arab leaders meet to discuss the crisis in Beirut:
• President Carter is gathering Egyptian and Israeli leaders for talks;
• The embargo on sales of weapons to Turkey is lifted;
• Turkish secret police kill members of a leftwing political group;
• A leftist Dutch group attacks an office of Amnesty International in an effort to win better treatment for prisoners;
• The Shah of Iran has cut defense spending to pay striking government workers.

Jones ends the newscast with a longer reading on one subject, in this case, a review of a book on the Chinese education system.

The newscast is typical of most of the readings from this period in other ways as well. In addition to periodic asides about the inevitability of the approaching nuclear war, Jones inserts numerous, short editorial remarks: the Soviet Union is the “avant garde of liberation,” while the US is the home of “imperialist fascist finance capitalism,” and its allies in Western Europe are lackeys. A few observations are longer, even as they are familiar to his audience. In criticizing the lifting of the arms embargo to Turkey, he says the US always has “[n]o money for health, education, welfare, no money for assistance for the poor, no money for anything, schools, but always plenty of money for murderers and fascist dictators.”

The main difference in this newscast from others of the period is that Jones stumbles more often during the reading, suggesting either fatigue – which he acknowledges in the later meeting – or the results of his increasing use of drugs to keep him going.

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 6/18/79

In connection with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation into the assassination of U.S. Congressman LEO J. RYAN at Port Kaituma, Guyana, South America, on November 18, 1978, a tape recording was obtained. This tape recording was located in Jonestown, Guyana, South America, and was turned over to U.S. Officials in Guyana and subsequently transported to the United States.

On June 5, 1979, Special Agent (name deleted) reviewed the tape numbered 1B100-2. This tape was found to contain the following:

Tuesday news by Reverend JIM JONES to the people at Jonestown for eleven minutes. Then the tape continues with group criticism of specific persons in People’s Temple in Jonestown.

Differences with FBI Summary:

The summary is accurate and meets the FBI’s purposes.

Tape originally posted July 2014